To ask your question, go to the bottom of this page and leave a reply to this blog.

There is a lot of confusing information on the web about heel pain, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis.  Much of this information is misleading and some of it is patently false.

We have tried to remedy this by providing a website with heel pain / plantar fasciitis  information based on evidence in the medical literature.

If, however, you cannot find the answer to your heel pain / plantar fasciitis question on our website, you may ask us questions about foot problems by replying to this blog.  We are not able to provide specific medical advice but will do our best to answer your general questions about foot health.  If you have any foot problems we recommend you see a podiatrist.  Please read our disclaimer here.

This blog entry is designed to give you a chance to ask any questions you might have about heel pain, heel spurs and plantar fascitiis.  Simply go to the bottom of this page and leave a reply to this blog to ask your question. We will answer questions via the blog a couple times per week.

We look forward to hearing from you,

Larry Huppin, DPM         Doug Hale, DPM

Dr. Larry Huppin
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Dr. Larry Huppin

Podiatrist specializing in biomechanics at Foot & Ankle Center of Washington
Lawrence Z.Huppin, DPM is an internationally recognized lecturer and teacher on orthotic therapy and biomechanics.In his Seattle private practice his focus in on treatment of mechanical problems such as heel pain, bunions, ball of foot pain, athletic injuries and children’s foot conditions.In addition he specializes in toenail problems including ingrown and fungal toenail conditions. He is always focused on helping patients avoid surgery if at all possible and keeping your medical costs as low as possible.
Dr. Larry Huppin
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29 thoughts on “Ask Us Your Heel Pain Questions

  1. After seeing a podiatrist a month ago I bought green orthotics and switched to a Turntec shoe with a firm heel and an arch that does not bend. Now I am stretching, then icing twenty minutes and massaging my heel, as well as taking ibuprophen regularly. Most days I am still getting heel pain by evening. Is there something else I need to be doing to get rid of this plantar fascitis? What could be causing my big toe on this foot to be hurting sometimes since I began this regimen?

    1. We are not able to provide any individual medical advice in the blog, but can give you some general information.

      First, when we see patients in our clinic, we often start with very conservative and inexpensive treatment if there is evidence that that treatment helps most people. But if our patients do not have complete relief we would want to see them back in our office in a few weeks as there are many other treatments available. This page has extensive and detailed information on treatment of heel pain that should answer your questions.

      Check out this page for information on big toe pain.

  2. Hello…I have pain while walking on the posteromedial side of both feet and it is painful on palpation as well. I suspect plantarfasciitis, but is it possible I have a strain of flexor hallucis brevis? My ROM in the direction of extension of my big toes is extremely limited. Obviously I understand that you can’t diagnose without examining, but is this kind of strain likely and often confused with plantarfasciitis? I realize that orthotics are available for sleeping that will help with plantarfasciitis, but I don’t want to wear them if that’s not what’s happening. What shoes might be good for someone with this pain? Thanks for any help you can give.

  3. I have an achilles tendonitis on my left foot. Still tender after several months and osteopath, physiotherapy, oral NSAID therapies. Any suggestions?

  4. due to the fact that I have made a toe amputation to my left foot last year I am actually not able to wear a shoe as my foot swell when I walk or stand too long on my foot I would like to know if there is a specific shoe to wear for this .

  5. I have had plantar faciitis for over 4 years. First on one foot, then the other. The first foot healed after typical treatments (injection, boot, night splint, taping, ice, Rx orthotics, stretching and physical therapy) after about a year. The second foot is not healing with these treatments and it’s been more than 3 years. I’ve seen several doctors and have had multiple orthotics made and have done all of the same treatments as the first foot. I wear recommended shoes to work (standing and walking on concrete) and still wear a night splint. One doc sent me to a chiropractor because my right leg is 1/4-1/2″ shorter than my left (the pf is in my left) and so she jams my hip back into place but each week it’s out of place again. How important is the chiropractic treatment and have I had this so long that there could be permanent damage in my foot? Is it possible at this point that it will ever heal?

    1. Adjusting for limb length can be important, but there is no evidence that chiropractic treatment can help plantar fasciitis. Once the leg length difference is taken care of with a lift, you don’t need to see a chiropractor again for this problem.

      Instead I would recommend that you be checked for plantar fasciosis.

      Read these two pages for information on where to proceed from here:
      http://www.footankle.com/chronic-heel-pain.htm
      http://www.footankle.com/seattle-heel-treatments.htm

  6. I don’t know if my problem is heel or ankle, but it is between both of them.
    The area just below the ankle around back of foot to the other side, and the most pain is usually on the outside ankle. Especially on my left foot the area just below the ankle bone will burn. I saw a podiatrist a year ago and he fit me with orthotics (Ihave a high arch) and raised the heel a bit, but the pain is still there.Do you have any idea what could be going on?

    1. Hi Debbie,

      There are a number of things. Everything from a tendonitis to a joint problem. I would either go back to the podiatrist you saw or get a second opinion from a different podiatrist. Best of luck.

  7. I was struck with PF 4 months ago and with ALL the conventional therapies you recomend for recovery the PF is very much improved to about 75% of normal. I am now in the rehab state as I am very athletic and would like to get to 100% recovery and then strengthen the PF so I never have this problem again. I do the towel and PROSTRETCH excersices as well as wall stretches and golf ball stretches. At a running store I read an article that stated that walking on the beach “in the soft sand slowly” will strenghten the PF and foot in general. It when on the state that a college running team used this excercise and never had foot injuries…What is your opinion on this for PF rehab?

    1. I don’t think it would hurt, but I also have not seen any research indicating that walking in sand would be a particularly effective treatment for plantar fasciitis.

      If you are not yet 100% better, I would recommend seeing a sports medicine oriented podiatrist.

  8. I was wondering what you thought of Abeo sandals from the Walking Company for people with plantar fasciitis. I did see your shoe list and I didn’t see them on there, but I was wondering if you had any thoughts on them. I’ve had plantar fasciitis for about 1&1/2 years and while it is much better than it was last year, my heel is still very touchy. I do have orthotics but they aren’t the most comfortable and also I wanted to get a pair of sandals. I tried on a pair of these sandals. They feel good when I’ve tried these on but I don’t want to undo any of the healing that has taken place to far.
    Thanks

    1. They’re not bad. They appear to have a decent arch, though not quite as good support as Orthaheel. Most studies on plantar fasciitis show that close contour to the arch of your foot is critical to reduce tension on the plantar fascia.

      Also, if your orthotics are not comfortable try to find a podiatrist who specializes in orthotic therapy. They should be very comfortable if prescribed correctly and the doctor is skilled in adjusting orthotics.

  9. I agree about the orthaheel sandals. I got plantar fasciitis in my left foot on February 2nd and then got it on my right foot too on April 5th. I could barely walk for a month and without the Orthaheel sandals I don’t know what I could have done. Their deep heel cup and good arch support allowed me to walk at least a little without a lot of pain.

    I just bought a new pair of New Balance shoes with a SOLE insert and I can walk in those without a lot of pain, too. I have tried a lot of other sandals on and other than the Orthaheel the others were all too painful to wear.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. We continue to be very impressed with the Orthaheel sandals and flipflops and recommend them to our patients regularly.

      Keep in mind that you have to compare them to other flip-flops – not to shoes. They are still not as supportive as a shoe with a good orthotic or arch support. But compared to other flip-flops they are excellent.

  10. I’m wondering if anyone else has this problem. I love the looks of the orthaheel shoes. I’ve tried the Tide flip flops and the Carla. The highest point of the arch in the shoe feels good until I try to walk. I don’t know if my foot slides forward or what but as I walk, the highest point of the shoe arch doesn’t seem to hit the highest point of my foot arch. The highest point of the shoe arch seems to hit just behind the highest part on my foot and so it is painful to walk in those. It hits that plantar fasciitis area. Is it possible I have a longer than normal length from the highest point of the arch to the heel and this is why these shoes don’t fit? Do you know of any other brands that might have the highest point of the arch support a little bit further up from the heel than the Orthaheel brand?
    Thanks

  11. Hi. I’ve had plantar heel pain in both feet for 4 years now and have pretty much tried it all (including both gastroc & PF release surgeries). What I’m wondering is whether at this point you think Total Contact orthotics might make a difference. I have already tried several off-the shelf orthotics and a pair of custom orthotics that were not Total Contact, which didn’t resolve the problem.
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Patricia,

      If your problem is actually plantar fasciitis, total contact orthotics offer the best chance to decrease pressure and tension on the heel and resolve your pain. There are, however, over 30 conditions that fairly commonly cause heel pain so it would be impossible for me to answer the question without examining your first. There are many causes of heel pain, for example, that no orthotic will help. If you are in the Seattle area, make an appointment to see us.

  12. I’ve had bilateral chronic heel pain for 13 years. I have tried custom orthotics, night splints, stretching, icing, extracorporeal shockwave therapy, and still can’t heal.

    I lack the typical plantar fasciitis symptoms, e.g. my first step in the morning isn’t bad. It’s just bilateral heel pain that gets worse when I’m on my feet.

    Question:

    Are there other conditions besides plantar fasciitis that cause bilateral heel pain? If so, how should I troubleshoot?

    1. Hi Zach,

      In fact, there are many other causes of plantar heel pain. Just to name a few:

      -Tarsal tunnel syndrome
      -Entrapment of the medial calcaneal nerve
      -Entrapment neuropathy of Baxter’s nerve
      -Calcaneal stress fracture
      -Plantar fasciosis
      -Plantar fascial tear
      -Calcaneal cysts
      -Soft tissue mass
      -Tear of the flexor digitorum brevis tendon
      -Systemic arthritis (lupus, psoriatic arthritis, etc)

      These are just a few of the possible diagnoses that can cause plantar heel pain. Given your previous treatment my guess is that you don’t have standard plantar fasciitis.

      This is a problem that should be worked up by specialist who understands that not all heel pain is due to plantar fasciitis. Can you let us know where you are located? We might have a recommendation for you on someone to see in your area.

      Good luck!

  13. I have Plantar Fasciitis for the past 10 months.. Visited the podiatrist & tried the stretches & icing as u suggested.Recently took graston therapy & I massage my foot using a golf ball twice a day..It gets very sore after these massages & gradually comes down but no complete relief..Is it the right thing to do or i jus have to stick with stretches & icing & put back all the other treatments.??My podiatrist asks me to get custom orthotics & my insurance never covers it..It costs 300$.Is it worth going for it.?/Right now im jus wearing a heel pad tht i purchased in Sports Authority.Do I have chronic pain because only after 10 months i approached the doctor…

  14. I’m currently suffering severe PF pain. Went to my doctor yesterday and was given a DARCO (?) softie shoe to wear. It has no arch support at all. I was told it would be uncomfortable for a time but would help longer term. It is excruciatingly painful to walk short distances wearing it. This shoe style is contradictory to what I’ve been told by others doctors. Any advice?

  15. Thanks for mentioning how a podiatrist should help you with feet and ankle pains. It’s also nice how you said that heel spurs can be cured by them too. My uncle’s feet have been hurting a lot too; my husband and I are looking into a podiatrist.

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